Dream Homes on Real Terms

Designing For RealityWe all have our ideal home sketch tucked away somewhere, if only in our minds. If you find yourself driving around looking at vacant lots and touring new homes then maybe you are ready for the next step. Building your own home is challenging and fun. The first step is determining what you can afford. Some lenders or builders will push you to borrow the most you possibly can and convince you that you can afford an even bigger dream. In the construction world, that approach could easily backfire.

The cost of building your ideal home is really just the start. Until you have a full picture of the associated issues, including everything from topographic surveys and septic systems to permits and contingency budgets (oh yes) you would be wise to be a little more conservative--at least in the paper stage. Now that may sound a little odd coming from a lender. When you've been on both sides of the table, you know it might be nice to have a little left over to furnish yo…

Flip your Fridge program - cool idea - literally!

Turn in that old cranky, drippy, energy-guzzler for a sleek quiet more modern version that will save you some cold hard cash:

Refrigerators 15 years or older use twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator.Consumers can save as much as $260-350 over the next five years and reduce their carbon footprint by 7,900 pounds when replacing an old refrigerator with a new ENERGY STAR certified model.Recycling old refrigerators save energy, money and help protect the climate. Keeping all that old refrigerant and foam from getting into the environment could prevent an extra 10,000 pounds of greenhouse gas The average refrigerator aged 10 years or older contains more than 120 pounds of recyclable steel emissionsIf all refrigerators sold in the US were ENERGY STAR cetified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $400 million each year and 8 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented. That is the equivalent to the emissions from 750,000 vehicles. 

What's happening in the Housing Construction Industry these days? “One Time Close” Custom to the Rescue!

So what does a homeowner seeking a custom home do these days? You get your own financing and let your financing bank manage the process for maximum results!

OTC or Custom Perm is two step loan consisting of construction (term) and permanent financing (perm) combined into one transaction.

This allows you to reduce your expenses to one set of costs usually associated with two closings. Until recently, it was more common for your builder to obtain construction or interim financing to build the home and then market it. Since so many builders found they could not sell their homes in a declining market, very few builders are proceeding using this model as banks have been forced to reorient how they handle construction projects.

What about Spec Loans?
Spec loans are for Builders who are financing their own project to sell. During the housing crisis, many Spec Builders and Lenders got out of the business altogether. In this scenario, after the home is built, the Buyer gets their own permanent …

It's EASY Going Green!

Earlier this year Congress extended solar and alternative energy tax credits to take a bite out of the bill of upgrading your home energy systems. In addition, the EEM or Energy Efficient Mortgage is the new rage among borrowers needing up to 5% of your home's value to make energy efficient improvements..*
Since when is energy from the sun considered 'alternative'? Isn't the sun our main method of heating the earth? Even primitive adobe housebuilders and cave dwellers knew which way to face their walls for maximum solar gain.

The new 'alternative energy' credits mean that our federal government is providing a $2,000 credit paid to the builder on new homes whose space heating and cooling energy consumption is 50% below the annual consumption a standard home.

Ask your accountant to research your rebates! Heck one guy I know has an entirely 'alternative' net zero home and it's not the first one he has built so these are not new ideas folks. They are ide…

PERFECT Time to Build Your Home!

What, are we crazy to suggest such a thing? Nope. Actually, like a good market contrarian, we can list a few very solid business reasons to build NOW.

1. Architects and Home Designers are either totally slammed working on major renovations for their top clients who may have decided to stay put or age in place... or extremely grateful for a nice plum ground up custom design to work on.
2. Builders are largely under-employed right now, so you will enjoy a choice of builders who are more willing negotiate your price and expect fantastic service.
3. Borrowers with high credit scores (720 or better) and sufficient assets to back up their project will have banks falling all over themselves to assist a custom project.
4. Builders can forget funding their own spec or custom homes (unless their client is taking on the financial risk) so you, Mr or Ms. Borrower will have all kinds of respect and control of your custom project coming your way.
5. Land values have plummeted due to the lack of develop…

Green is UnGreed!

"The greed that led the world economy into crisis will not defeat our commitment to good work."Rick Fedrizzi

This quote came in a letter from the the CEO of the US Green Building Council, Rick Fedrizzi, offering the hope for homeowners and those in the green building industry who are concerned about the viability of our Green Movement during tough economic times. With everyone questioning the viability of the housing market in general, he reminds us that good is always valued. In fact, when you come right down to it, good equals value. We tend to choose better things that last longer and forego short term gratification when the dollars really matter.

He reminds us that we cannot wait for change to be effected by our legislators, our bankers, our employers or our mentors. It's up to us to create these positive changes for ourselves. By voting for officials we can support and then NOT just leaving it up to them but to get to work behind them and speak about, write about, blo…

Gliding Toward Green!

Manufactured and Modular Homes have come long way, baby!

History Lesson
If you happened to grow up in a Mobile Home park in the early 50's it was probably a lot of fun compared to previous sub-standard housing offered to waged farm and factory workers. These mass produced affordable homes were a fact of life in many rural communities. They meant home ownership and a lot more room for your buck. People lived in closer proximity to each other and were less isolated. In many ways they created a sense of community that felt more like a village where people looked out for each other, actually knowing and caring for their children and elderly.

What we didn't know then and we do know now is that Mobile Homes, now kindly referred to as Manufactured Homes, were quickly constructed with price in mind. Naturally corners were cut on things like materials. You were lucky if your roof lasted ten years. The real problems that have been identified since those early years have more to do with sa…